Many days with perfect sunny weather, good friends and a lot of fun playing on rocks…that’s how the last weeks in Ticino can be summarized… read a summary about the first part of the trip here: http://www.ukclimbing.com/news/item.php?id=67846.
To be honest, we also had more than our fair share of days with really bad weather and spent many days shoveling snow and trying to dry the boulders…But the sunny days are the ones to remember! Here is a little video we made, featuring amongst others Andi’s 3rd ascent of ‘Heritage’, 8B+ and Brionesque (watch out for my unintended stunt scene…) and my first ascent of Piatto Piedi!
[problem list in video: Piatto Piedi, La Brionesque, I Portici, Heritage, Marylin Monroe]
some comments about the harder things I climbed:
Sun Ichiban, 8A: small cave with perfect rock and fun moves, suited me well. Found smarter beta than the FAionist, but started a couple moves lower
Dreams are full of maybies, 8A: cool crimpy shield, hard foot move.
Marilyn Monroe, 8A: definitely on the ‘lifetime-ticklist’. Tried this on and off over the last years, but couldn’t do the shoulder move at the end. There are other betas for this problem, but I stubbornly wanted to do this the original way/the way I first tried it. You can’t imagine how excited I was when finally did this move this year! Very happy to gotten stronger and/or a better climber…Linking the whole problem turned still out to be quite hard, as the first moves are at my full extension. Its one of those problems where you wish that you could ‘shrink’ it a little bit, so that all the holds and footholds are just a few centimeters closer together.
Frank’s wild years, 8A: my love-hate affair with Frankie finally has a lucky ending:) One of those problems where you do not understand that its so hard, but you still can’t get it up…hence a classic Cresciano problem;)
Piatto Piedi (aka The Sonierto Slab), 8A?: Featured in the classic climbing movie Dosage 4, where Courtney Hemphill comes very close to sending and takes some scary falls from high up. Its one of the most impressive slab lines I’ve ever seen and sits in a beautiful picturesque surrounding, just next to ‘Kings of Sonierto’ and ‘Off the Wagon’. I found a really nice sequence and luckily did not take a fall from the top:) To my knowledge, nobody else has done it before (please correct me if I’m wrong), so it might be a first ascent. As it took me roughly the same amount of time like the classic Fontainebleau slab ‘Duel’ (though it climbs quite differently), I would estimate the difficulty to be in the same range. That is VERY difficult to say though, as its even less powerful than Duel; there is not a single move that is physically hard. Just very sustained, insecure, technical climbing on bad footholds. On the whole climb you are never standing in a relaxed position, as I could only weight the footholds for a few second before they would start slipping. You really have to be focused and stay calm until the very (high) top, where without a handhold that deserves that name I had to stretch/tiptoe on a smeary foot to be just able to reach an edge, which you can use to jump to the rescuing top lip. Whatever the difficulty might be, its definitely one of my favorite problems ever and one I’m really proud of!
A note to the access: The boulders mentioned above are just next to a peaceful little village and a meadow, which in spring/summer is used to make hay. So if you visit the valley, please stay on the hiking trails, keep away from the pastures and the cows and talk to the villagers&farmers if its ok to climb there at the moment!
I Portici, 8A+: A newer Fred Nicole problem, whom I’m just gonna quote here: ”A really nice line that follows an arete, very technical. The first part is the hardest with powerful moves on slopers&pinches. The second part features more athletic climbing on far apart but good holds. une belle surprise!” Apart from the very physical and athletic climbing I personally found it hard to have cold enough skin for the very friction dependent first part, but be warmed up enough for the second part and the slightly scary top. It climbs so well, its definitely one of the best in Ticino!
Apollo, 8A: fun little problem with a tricky heelhook, which I don’t think is 8a+…